Thursday, 11 December 2008
WHY WE FIGHT TERRORISM
when Islamic extremists take over?
Let's look at a situation in which they took over an area that
primarily was Muslim to begin with, and see.
Following is an interview between Jamie Glazov, Managing Editor of www.frontpagemag.com, and Johnathan
Schanzer, who is described at the beginning of the interview.
No bold print from me on this one, because every word is important:
By Jamie Glazov
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Frontpage Interviews guest today is Jonathan Schanzer,
director of policy at the Jewish Policy Center. He has served as a
counterterrorism analyst at the U.S. Department of Treasury and as a research
fellow at Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He is the author of the new
book, Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle For Palestine. Daniel Pipes wrote the foreword
to the book and some of the research was
undertaken at Pipes' Middle East Forum.
Jonathan Schanzer, thank you for joining us again.
Schanzer: My pleasure, Jamie.
FP: Today, I'd like to talk about the way Hamas
has governed Gaza since taking it over by force in 2007. But first, please
briefly review the thesis of your new book Hamas vs. Fatah: The Struggle For Palestine.
Schanzer: My new book documents the ongoing
political and military struggle between the two largest Palestinian factions
Hamas and Fatah dating back to 1988. Today, as a civil war rages in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip, Israel, the international community cannot even identify a
legitimate Palestinian interlocutor. The book looks at how we arrived at this
FP: Please tell our readers about the June 2007
war between Hamas and Fatah.
Schanzer: In a word, it was brutal. The battle for
Gaza lasted a mere six days. Fatahs forces, trained and armed by the United
States and other western nations, failed miserably. Some left the field of
battle. Others joined the Hamas fighters. Those who stood their ground were
likely not prepared for their brutal enemy. According to the Palestinian Center
for Human Rights, Hamas violence was indiscriminate, demonstrating a willful
disregard for the conventions of war. Hamas fighters pushed Fatah members from
the roofs of tall buildings. Hamas even killed people who were already injured,
or shot their enemies at point-blank range to ensure permanent disabilities.
Hamas also attacked private homes and apartment buildings, hospitals,
ambulances, and medical crews. All told, the June fighting claimed the lives of
at least 161 Palestinians, including 7 children and 11 women. Some 700
Palestinians were wounded.
FP: What happened when the guns fell
Schanzer: Hamas began to govern through a
combination of violence, authoritarianism, and Islamism. Ismael Haniyeh, the
ascendant ruler of Gaza, officially denied accusations that Hamas intended to
establish an Islamic emirate. However, by November, the British press reported
that only believers feel safe in Gaza and that un-Islamic dress sometimes
resulted in beatings. According to a UN report, women felt coerced to cover
their heads not out of religious conviction but out of fear.
The new Hamas government attacked the media and peaceful
demonstrations, and engaged in the destruction, seizure, and robbery of
governmental and non-governmental institutions, according to one human rights
In short, the few reluctant steps toward liberalization
that the PA had taken during its 13-year rule in Gazasmall advances in press
and political freedoms, for examplewere wiped out in days.
FP: There were reports of torture. Were these
Schanzer: Yes. Some 1,000 people, almost all
members of Fatah and the PA, were illegally arrested in the first months of
Hamas rule by the new Hamas police, the Executive Force. The leader of the
Executive Force actually admitted to the use of torture and violence against
Hamass political enemies. He stated in August that torture occurred in Hamas
prisons but that the EF was trying to minimize violations and avoid them
through the training of our members.
The allegations of torture continued, however. In
September, Hamas abducted five Fatah men who were later transferred for
treatment to a Gaza hospital, where evidence of torture was reported. Rights
groups reported that other Fatah prisoners sustained fractures to the feet as
a result of beatings with sticks. In other instances, Fatah men were handcuffed
and blindfolded and had pieces of cloth stuffed in their mouths to stifle their
FP: How did Gazas Christian population
Schanzer: They probably suffered the most. Hamas
grossly mistreated the minority Christian community, mostly Greek Orthodox,
which had lived in relative peace for centuries amid Gazas predominantly Sunni
In June 2007, masked gunmen attacked the Rosary Sisters
School and the Latin Church in Gaza City. Hamas gunmen used rocket-propelled
grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church. Then they
destroyed almost everything inside. That same month, Hamas kidnapped Professor
Sana al-Sayegh, a teacher at Palestine University in Gaza City, and forced her
to convert to Islam against her will. Her familys attempts to meet with Hamas
leaders to find her repeatedly failed. Requests by community leaders to meet
with Hamas were also turned down.
In October, the body of 30-year-old Rami Ayyad, the owner
of the Holy Bible Association, was found in an eastern suburb of Gaza City.
Ayyads organization had been the target of a grenade attack during protests
stemming from the cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed that appeared in the Danish
newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005.
In February 2008, unidentified gunmen blew up the YMCA
library in the Gaza Strip. Two guards were kidnapped, offices were looted, and
vehicles were stolen, and more than 8,000 books were destroyed. That attack came
only days after a Hamas modesty patrol attacked a Christian youths car after
he was seen driving a female classmate to her home. Both were injured in that
By one count, more than 50 attacks had taken place in the
first few months following the June coup. Targets included barbershops, music
stores, and even a UN school where boys and girls played sports
FP: Did the Gaza population fight back?
Schanzer: Some tried non-violent resistance.
However, those who held demonstrations against the lack of law in Gaza also
suffered. According to al-Jazeera, the Executive Force beat peaceful Fatah
demonstrators after the coup. By August, Hamas banned unlicensed demonstrations
by the Fatah party. According to Hamas, the demonstrations were being used to
create chaos and terrorism.
Hamass apprehension over the demonstrations was
understandable. They sometimes turned violent, particularly when Hamas security
forces began forcefully dispersing the crowd. Associated Press television aired
images of Hamas men beating an unarmed protester with sticks. In some cases,
according to Amnesty International, Hamas deliberately shot unarmed
demonstrators. In two cases, Palestinians were shot and killed while trying to
help other demonstrators who were injured.
It is interesting to note that when Hamas threw rocks at
Israelis during the 1987 and 2000 uprisings, the group called this resistance.
When Palestinian protestors threw stones at Hamas, the new rulers of Gaza called
them outlaws and arrested them.
FP: So, why did most people not hear about this in
Schanzer: Hamas worked assiduously to cover its
own tracks. To control the reporting out of Gaza, Hamas began to issue
government press cards to journalists. Predictably, journalists whom Hamas did
not like did not receive credentials. The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate
protested that the tactic threatened journalists and prevented them from doing
their jobs. The syndicate alleged that under the Hamas governments draconian
rules, phrases such as Hamas militias and ousted government were banned.
Hamas also announced it would ban stories that did not support national
responsibilities or those that would cause harm to national unity.
The more journalists complained, the more difficult Hamas
made it for them. The Union of Palestinian Journalists reported that after a
series of threats, Hamas forces raided the home of one journalist. The union
further noted that its ranks had been threatened and blackmailed by Hamas on a
daily basis. The Foreign Press Association confirmed these reports, claiming
Hamas had engaged in harassment of Palestinian journalists in Gaza. Reporters
Without Borders, an international media watchdog group, noted that Hamas failed
to investigate these incidents.
FP: How did Hamas manage the Gaza
Schanzer: Rather horribly. Due to Israels
sanctions against the Hamas government, stores in Gaza were out of many
products, and hospitals ran low on crucial supplies, including anesthetics and
antibiotics. Seeking to avert a humanitarian crisis, the Israelis eventually
allowed certain medical supplies into Gaza but vowed to withhold other
nonessentials. However, Hamas ensured that goods and supplies would be cut off
every time they launched rockets into Israel. Indeed, they had a choice. They
could either fire rockets and ensure continued suffering for their people, or
cease the violence and make sure the population was provided for. For nearly a
year, Hamas chose violence.
Hamas also neglected Gazas infrastructure. As a result
of Hamas mismanagement, several Gaza sewer pipes burst, which flooded homes and
businesses with a foul river of waste that was several yards high. Gazans were
infuriated when it was learned that the Israeli-made pipes that were intended to
repair Gazas decrepit sewage system had been sold to Hamas but used to assemble
Qassam missiles and bunkers.
The most anger, however, likely stemmed from the Hamas
governments decision to raise taxes on cigarettes. Lucky Strikes used to cost
10 shekels ($2.50) per pack. After Hamas came to power, the same pack of
cigarettes cost 16 or 17 ($4.00 or $4.25) shekels. Other American cigarettes
could cost Gazans upward of 40 shekels per pack ($10.00). The Gazans who could
not afford to smoke were said to be fuming.
FP: Some people say that there were positive
aspects of Hamas rule. How is that possible?
Schanzer: Hamas, of course, attempted to highlight
the positives. Within weeks of the takeover, the Islamists boasted that crime,
tribal clashes, and kidnapping had all dropped precipitously in the Gaza Strip.
But, this drop in crime was more than likely the result of fear on the part of
Gaza residents rather than a sign of increased or improved law
Hamas proved once again that terrorist groups, much like
their Fatah predecessors, were unfit to govern. The Islamist group exhibited an
almost criminal indifference to the suffering of Gaza citizens impacted by the
violence, lack of services, deepening poverty, collateral damage from the
battles, and the predictable Israeli reprisals that resulted from Hamas attacks.
FP: Jonathan Schanzer, thank you for joining
Schanzer: Youre quite welcome, Jamie. Always a pleasure.
Take a good look. Because this is what will replace western
civilization if we allow it to. And it will be the way YOU live.
If we fight against radical Islam we may win and we may lose. If we do
not, we will most assuredly lose because, either way, they will continue
fighting. And if they win, our culture and our civilization is over, to be
replaced by what? A society that does this to its own
mostly-Muslim population? What do you think it would do to Westerners if given the
God help the people who want to live this way. God help the people who
are forced live this way whether they want to or not.
I fervently hope Barack Obama reads this interview....and understands that we
play political games with radical Islamic terrorists at our own
MORE PROOF OBAMA IS LYING ABOUT BLAGOJEVICH
I pulled this excellent blog from www.floppingaces.net. My
compliments to Curt for doing the research --- research that mainstream
media never quite get around to when the issue is Barack Obama:
Doug Ross has even
more evidence that Obama discussed his senate seat with Gov. Blagojevich, this
source, the Chicago Tribune,
makes the fourth article referencing the meeting:
Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Thursday cited the
potential for bad karma and avoided discussing potential Senate successors
to Barack Obama should the Democratic nominee win the White House, but
acknowledged he has a process in mind for making the most important
appointment of his career.
I just dont want to jinx him and I dont like
the karma of me thinking that far ahead, Blagojevich said of Obamas
prospects in Tuesdays election. The governor added, We have had some
discussions about a process which well share if all goes well.
Sources close to Blagojevich, who asked not to
be named because they were not authorized to speak for him, said one issue
would be to consider who could most help the governor politically.
What helps me in my quest for the future,
whether its re-election or legacy? one Blagojevich confidant said of the
selection process being eyed by the Democratic governor, who has seen his job
approval rating fall to staggering levels. Its a big
Hot Air has
this photo, placed on the Governors website on November 12th:
With the caption Governor Blagojevich confers
with now President‐Elect Barack Obama.
Meanwhile Politico has seven
questions for Obama:
1 Did you communicate directly or indirectly
with Blagojevich about picking your replacement in the U.S. Senate?
2 Why didnt you or someone on your team
correct your close adviser David Axelrod when he said you had spoken to
Blagojevich about picking your replacement?
3. When did you learn the investigation
involved Blagojevichs alleged efforts to sell your Senate seat, or of the
governors impending arrest?
4 Did you or anyone close to you contact the
FBI or U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald about Blagojevichs alleged efforts to
sell your Senate seat to the highest bidder?
5 Did federal investigators interview you or
anyone close to you in the investigation?
6 When did you and Blagojevich last speak and
7 Do you regret supporting Blagojevich?
He was asked two of those questions this morning:
Asked if he or his people had interacted with
Blagojevich or his office about filling the vacant Illinois Senate seat, Obama
said he, personally, had not.
But he left the door open to the possibility
that his aides may have and promised that he would reveal the results of an
investigation of any such interactions in the next few days.
He said: what I want to do is gather all the
facts about any staff contacts that may have taken place between the
transition office and the governors office.
He asserted, though, that no one on his staff
engaged Blagojevich in his alleged efforts to trade the Senate seat for
Asked if federal investigators had contacted him
or his people in the course of the investigation, Obama said that neither he
nor his people had been interviewed.
We had no contactsounds quite familiar doesnt
it? I did not have sex with that woman, yeahrings a bell.
Basically this all comes down to what did he know,
and when did he know it. Will the MSM ask the tough questions? Run down every
lead? Shake the bushes? Based on past history I highly doubt it but a few may,
like the Wall Street Journal:
What remains to be seen is whether this episode
will put an end to what Chicago Tribune political columnist John Kass calls
the national medias almost willful fantasy that Mr. Obama and Chicagos
political culture have little to do with each other. Mr. Kass notes that the
media devoted a lot more time and energy to investigating the inner workings
of Sarah Palins Wasilla, Alaska, than it has looking at Mr. Obamas Chicago
To date, Mr. Obamas approach to Illinois
corruption has been to congratulate himself for dodging association with it.
I think I have done a good job in rising politically in this environment
without being entangled in some of the traditional problems of Chicago
politics, he told the Chicago Tribune last spring. At the time, Mr. Obama was
being grilled over news that he bought his house through a land deal involving
Tony Rezko, a political fixer who was later convicted on 16 corruption counts.
Rezko is mentioned dozens of times in the 76-page criminal complaint against
Mr. Obama has an ambiguous reputation among
those trying to clean up Illinois politics. We have a sick political culture,
and thats the environment Barack Obama came from, Jay Stewart, executive
director of the Chicago Better Government Association, told ABC News months
ago. Though Mr. Obama did support ethics reforms as a state senator, Mr.
Stewart noted that hes been noticeably silent on the issue of corruption
here in his home state including, at this point, mostly Democratic
One thing the WSJ points out is that many
lawmakers in Illinois were disgusted with Blagojevich and wanted him impeached.
Illinois senate president Emil Jones, the man who helped Obama get that Senate
seat, didnt like the calls for impeachment and said so loudly. What would Obama
Many people were curious who Mr. Obama would
side with in the dispute. Would it be with those Democrats who wanted to move
aggressively against an apparently corrupt governor or with his old Chicago
ally, Mr. Jones, who preferred to wait? Mr. Obama did neither. He kept silent.
(I emailed the Obama campaign about Mr. Blagojevichs problems in June, but my
question was ignored.)
He acted like he always did. Took neither side and
stayed in the shadows.
Classic Obama..get the popcorn out folks
My compliments, also, to www.hotair.com
for unearthing that photo of Obama and blagojerkovich. (Ok, I admit that all
it took was to go to the Illinois Governor's web site. But that must be
especially hard, since mainstream media couldn't find the photo at all).
So we have Obama - again - caught in a dead-on lie. And mainstream media -
again - caught doctoring news to protect him.
This stinks like a two week old salmon filet at room temperature. And the stench hasn't
hit its peak yet. Not by a long shot. The big question is; will media eventually report this scandal, or
will they continue to cover it up on behalf of Saint Barack?
But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them
CENSORSHIP YOU CAN BELIEVE IN
From Noel Sheppard of www.newsbusters.org:
Obama's Transition Website
Censoring Questions About Blagojevich
President-elect Barack Obama's transition website
Change.gov is censoring questions
offered by readers about disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.
Although the "Open for Questions" page was
launched Wednesday stating "The Obama-Biden Transition wants to hear from
you," readers have been quick to shelter the president-elect from inquiries
relating to Blago.
I guess this is change you can believe
As reported by
Politico's Ben Smith:
President-elect Barack Obama's Transition today
launched "Open for Questions," a Digg-style
feature allowing citizens to submit questions, and to vote on one another's
questions, bringing favored inquiries to the top of the list.
It was suggested when it launched that the tool
would bring uncomfortable questions to the fore, but the results so far are
the opposite: Obama's supporters appear to be using -- and abusing -- a tool
allowing them to "flag" questions as "inappropriate" to remove all questions
mentioning Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich from the main pages of Obama's
The Blagojevich questions -- many of them polite
and reasonable -- can be found only by searching words in them, like
"Blagojevich," which produces 35 questions missing from the main page of the
You really gotta love it. What are some of the
questions being censored?
sure media outlets who regularly carped and whined about secrecy and lack of
transparency in the Bush White House will be aggressively reporting this
revelation, although I wouldn't hold my breath.
"Given the current corruption charges involving
Blagojevich, will 'serious' campaign finance reform that takes money
completely out of politics through publicly funded elections be a priority in
the first term?" asked Metteyya of Santa Cruz, California.
"This submission was removed because people
believe it is inappropriate," reads the text underneath it.
Also removed as "inappropriate":
"In light of the recent corruption scandals
(Blagojevich, Rangel, Jefferson, Stevens, etc) that have dominated the
political scene,is there any ethics legislation being crafted to actually curb
corruption and prevent another wave of nixonian cynicism?", a question from
"lupercal," of Gainesville.
And: "Is Barack Obama aware of any
communications in the last six weeks between Rod Blagojevich or anyone
representing Rod Blagojevich and any of Obama's top aides?", a question from
Phil from Pennsylvania.
In reading this, I find myself recalling a comment
made by the father of Joran (pronounced urine) Van Der Sloot, the sickening
excuse for a human being who was accused of killing Alabama teenager
Natalie Holloway in Aruba. At the beginning of the investigation, daddy
Van Der Sloot was quoted as saying "no body, no case".
Obamians appear to be working on the same premise. If they
eliminate all questions about blagojevich and, more generally, Democratic
corruption, the questions don't exist.
What happened to "change we can believe in"? Does this look like change
Or does it look like Obama and his people are taking a crash course from
newly proposed Secretary of State Clinton and her husband?
THE ATTEMPTED STEALING OF NORM COLEMAN'S SENATE SEAT
you can see, I've
changed the title for this series of blogs by adding the word "attempted".
I made the change because I have become guardedly hopeful that franken won't be able to do it.
Not that it would surprise me at all if the necessary votes
to reverse Coleman's win mystically materialize (the way they did for Christine
Gregoire in Washington State four years ago). It won't. But as the days go by it will
be harder and harder to pull off.
Here is the beginning of an
article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, which tells us about franken's
latest ploy; a youtube.com sob-a-thon:
Franken YouTube video pushes some
The Franken camp releases a YouTube
video of emotional voters whose absentee ballots were rejected. The Coleman camp
calls it a new low.
The video, which was released on YouTube
(www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBOad11LueE) and came two days before the board's Friday meeting on the issue, was
immediately criticized by Republicans, who described it as "a new low" and
another attempt to discredit local election officials.
In one scene, quadriplegic Mike Brickley of
Bloomington is shown lying in bed -- with his head resting on a Minnesota
Vikings pillow -- as he pleads with officials to count his vote. "I may be a
quadriplegic," said Brickley, 46, as he stares into the camera and speaks in a
halting voice, "...but we are still someone, and we deserve to have our votes
Brickley, according to the campaign, had his
absentee ballot rejected because he was not a registered voter -- the campaign
said state records show he was registered -- and because his signature on his
ballot envelope did not match the signature on his application for the absentee
ballot. Brickley said he signed his ballot application by holding a pen in his
mouth, and had his wife, who had recently suffered a stroke and is legally
blind, sign the ballot on his behalf.
The video's release marked the latest attempt by
Franken and U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman to swing public opinion -- and, possibly, the
state Canvassing Board -- in their favor as the monthlong recount heads toward
more critical turning points, and as Franken remains behind in the official
recount. On Friday, the board will review what to do with what are likely
hundreds of absentee ballots that were improperly
Apparently, in the happy horsemanure world of al franken, if the
election results stand it means that Norm Coleman is against
enfranchising the handicapped.
I will say, however, that the Minnesota Vikings pillow was certainly a
nice touch -- though they missed the chance to tell us Mr. Brickley has
a pet gopher and his favorite dish is wall-eyed pike.
Look, it is a fact of life that some number of ballots are rejected in an
election. Mr. Brickley's ballot would have been one of them because
of a series of tragic, unique circumstances. No one wronged him. No
one intentionally took away his vote.
By the way, the youtube.com video does not
tell us who Mr. Brickley intended to vote for (though I suspect I know, don't
you?). It also doesn't tell us if Mr. Franken found a cache of Republicans who were
denied their vote and excluded them.
What it does do is show five rejections that seem egregiously wrong
--- out of almost 3 million votes cast on election day.
Should they have been counted? If these people are telling
the truth, yes. Just as others should have - and should not have -
been counted for a variety of reasons.
But it is now over a month past election day. And since no count
will ever get everything perfectly right , at some point you have to
stop and say "enough". That point is past due in Minnesota.
In short, the video is BS, and maudlin BS at that.
I would say shame on al franken, but you can't nail a man for what he doesn't
THE SILENCE OF THE RAHM
Rahm Emanuel is slated to be Barack Obama's chief of staff.
But is he implicated in the already huge, and rapidly growing, Democratic
scandal in Illinois?
Well, he's not talking. At least not so far. And maybe we better
hear something from him soon.
Here is an excerpt from today's
article in the Chicago Tribune. The bold print at the end of this
excerpt should give you an idea of why Mr. Emanuel may be a tad more
tight-lipped than he usually is:
Barack Obama now says Gov. Rod Blagojevich should
Republicans had criticized his initial guarded
| Tribune reporters
- December 11, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama on Wednesday joined a
chorus of political leaders urging the resignation of Gov. Rod Blagojevich, his
staff remained tight-lipped about the growing federal probe into a scandal that
has broken the momentum of his transition.
Obama's call for Blagojevich
to step down was in stark contrast to his legalistic initial response to the
governor's arrest, which drew criticism from Republicans and bewildered even
admirers who expected the incoming president to express more outrage.
was a lost opportunity for some real eloquence," said Cindy Canary, executive
director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
charged with trying to sell his power to fill Obama's vacated Senate seat to the
highest bidder. Several top Illinois Democrats called for Blagojevich's ouster
within hours of his arrest.
Paul Begala, himself a viciously partisan Democratic hatchetman, has
described Rahm Emanuel's style as "a cross between a toothache and a
hemmorhoid". Do you doubt for a minute he'd be a player in this
Time to open up and start talking, Mr. Emanuel. This scandal includes you, and it will not
go away. The longer you clam up, the bigger it will